02/23/2012 01:07 pm ET Updated Feb 23, 2012

Drunk Flight Attendant Causes Flight Cancellation

A female flight attendant for Pinnacle Airlines (Delta Connection) was so drunk on a flight over the weekend that she was taken off the plane.

Mary Jean Bongers, a 51-year-old from Coon Rapids, Minnesota, was removed from a flight from Grand Forks to Minneapolis, according to the Associated Press.

The flight, Delta Connection 3743, was scheduled to depart at 1 p.m. on Sunday, but Bongers was reportedly so drunk that she repeatedly failed to correctly recite the alphabet and spell her own name, police told the Star Tribune.

Bongers had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit for driving in North Dakota and maintained that she was not drunk.

A nurse practitioner first alerted pilots that Bongers seemed intoxicated. Police officers came to the plane and met with Bongers -- one reported smelling a "moderate odor" on her breath. Bongers, meanwhile, left two letters out of her last name when asked to identify herself and sang parts of the alphabet while swaying. reports that a sweep of the plane revealed three empty plane-size bottle of Skyy Vodka.

The flight attendant was "relieved of duty [without pay] pending further investigation", the Star Tribune reports. As a result, the understaffed flight was cancelled and its 30 passengers were put on later flights.

Both the airline and the FAA are investigating, reports.

Last year, a United Express pilot convicted of flying while drunk was sentenced to serve six months in prison. In March 2011, Mexican authorities suspended the licenses of two pilots, two co-pilots and a flight attendant from Aeromexico for being under the influence of alcohol while flying.


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